Many people recognize the name Mami Coco from the popular movie that was released in 2017, but in 2018 a taqueria called Mami Coco opened in East Dallas. Owner Gustavo De Los Rios says the motivation behind this small spot on Bryan Street was a need for more authentic dishes and antojitos Mexicanos.
“At Mami Coco, we wanted to be different,” De Los Rios said. So — boldly — he left tacos off the menu when he first opened. Instead he went with flautas, enchiladas, burritos and sopes. But, since taco is king at a taqueria, he soon had to add them back after people would leave when they realized they couldn’t order tacos.
Tacos or not, a variety of unique dishes here are big on flavor and presentation. This might surprise you when you pull up to this small spot connected to a convenience store; just two picnic tables sit out front, and the narrow space inside has a few stools at a counter, which is great place to watch the kitchen and snap pictures of your food. A large colorful floral mural painted by De Los Rios’ wife brightens things up.
A point of pride for De Los Rios is that he has customers from all walks of life in his restaurant. “Someone told me long ago a taqueria is society’s equalizer. And I have seen this — in the three years we have been open, people from all classes and ethnicities enjoy our food,” he says.
When asked how the pandemic affected business, De Los Rios said due to the size of the taqueria, 70% of orders are takeout and only 30% dine in. They still made some small changes to procedures, like adding curbside service and working with a food delivery service.
The food at Mami Coco is not from any specific region of Mexico but is inspired by many regions. One specialty item is the machaca, a breakfast dish from Monterrey made with dried salted meat served with egg.
Protein offered throughout the menu includes chicharron prensado (pressed pork), deshebrada (shredded beef), picadillo, chicken, beef fajita or barbacoa. On a recent trip, I tried tacos with chicharron prensado, beef fajita and deshebrada. All were good, and the meat had great taste and wasn’t too greasy.
The flautas, however, were the star of the show; these are fried to perfection, topped with an avocado sauce, crema, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onions, and cilantro, and filled with your choice of chicken or deshebrada.
Mami Coco has both green and red salsa. The latter is hot but has great flavor and adds just the right kick to the tacos.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can order an eyeball taco; it’s not as crazy as it sounds. When preparing barbacoa most taquerias don’t like to waste any food, so they use all the meat they can gather from the head of the cow including the eyeballs.
Check out their Taco Tuesday special; five tacos and a drink for $7.50.
Mami Coco, 4501 Bryan St. (East Dallas). Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
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